Nukus – the capital of Karakalpakstan

The original capital of Karakalpakstan was Turtkul, but due to its proximity to the Amu Darya River and the associated risk of flooding, it was decided in 1930 to move the capital to Nukus.

Nukus was founded in the place of the old settlement of Shurcha, which existed from the 4th century BC to the 4th century AD. This settlement was located on the site of today’s cemetery, which makes excavations difficult. Nevertheless, it is clear that Shurcha, by controlling the waterway of the Amu Darya, was an important city of the Khorezm Empire.

The city’s main attraction is the Igor Savitsky Art Museum, which houses a unique collection of Russian avant-garde art. About 20 km from Nukus is the Mizdakhan complex, in the centre of which Adam is said to be buried according to the local belief.

The population of the region is mainly engaged in agriculture. The main crops are cotton and rice, but farm animals are also kept. During the Soviet period, fishing played an important role, but after the shrinking of the Aral Sea, many fishermen had to give up their profession.

General information: 

  • Population: 316.000 (2019)
  • Elevation: 476 m

Traditional dish:

Karakalpakstan is known for a variant of the Beshbarmak dish known throughout Central Asia. It is a pasta dish with meat and an onion sauce. While beef or lamb are usually mixed with Qazi, a sausage made from horsemeat, in Karakalpakstan the dish is prepared with turkey meat as well.

Air connections: Nukus has an airport from which international flights to Russia and local flights to Tashkent are offered.

Railway connection: train station Nukus offers connections to Urgench and from there to other cities of Uzbekistan. There is also a direct connection to Tashkent which takes between 20 and 25 hours depending on the train. Often these are trains that originally depart from Russia to Uzbekistan.

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